The Observers – Ivory Coast travellers incensed as heavy rains turn key road into mud bath

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Our Observer Gaspard Goore Bi sent us videos filmed on October 9 and 10 showing the situation on the road between Guiglo and Tai, in the west of Ivory Coast. The road became totally impassable after heavy rains turned it into a mud bath. In these videos, local residents, drivers and a priest all call on the government for help. The situation has since improved, but this kind of exasperation is not uncommon for users of the Guiglo-Tai road, which is regularly in such a state.

In this week’s episode of The Observers, several people driving between Guiglo and Tai recounted their frustration. Our Observer went to the troubled road, between the villages of Kridy and Zo, to take stock of the situation.

The road was flooded by heavy rains that have impacted the region since the beginning of October, and has become totally unusable. The situation has not just impacted residents, but also drivers who regularly use this thoroughfare to get from the Port of San Pedro, in the south of the country, to Tai, in the mid-west. 

Adamo, a truck driver, Hervé Oulai, a local resident and city councillor in Tai, and Ferdinand, a priest, all shared their experiences dealing with this chaotic situation. And it’s nothing new – the road floods regularly, like it did in 2020 or 2018.

What’s happened since these videos were filmed?

A few days later, on October 13, the road was rudimentarily repaired, in large part by a local agriculture entrepreneur who feared losing his produce. Traffic resumed gradually, despite persistent rains that are expected to continue throughout the week. 

Hervé Oulai Djémaho, a city councillor in Tai, confirmed this information. He also explained that the president of the Cavally regional council had requested that Minister of Equipment and Road Maintenance Amédée Kouakou intervene to help the population. According to the minister, the asphalting of the road between Guiglo and Tai is included in the National Development Programme 2021-2025 launched by the Ivorian government.

The success of this plan is still subject to the results of round tables with donors, which will take place in early 2022. The government is still seeking funding of CFAF 5,400 billion (just over 8 million euros) for the project, which will cost CFAF 59,000 billion (90 million euros) in total.

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